Nashua Soup Kitchen & Shelter • 2 Quincy Street • Nashua • NH • 03061-3116
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FARMERS' MARKET NOW TAKES SNAP
The Nashua Farmers' Market opens for the season on Sun, June 19, from 10am-2pm on the Main St. bridge and surrounding area. The market can take SNAP (Food Stamp)benefits for fresh produce with double the benefit ($5 of SNAP = $10 of food)
UNITED WAY SUMMER HUNGER PROJECT
The United Way is doing a project at Nashua Community College on June 21 from noon - 5pm, collecting financial donations and putting together food donations for local food pantries. Please call 603 417-7000 for more information. This is particularly appreciated since summer is a hard time for families with children and is a low donation time at pantries.
SUPPORT SENATE VERSION OF CHILD NUTRITION ACT
In order to support the most low-income children with good nutrition in school lunch programs, please contact your Congressperson and Senators to choose the Senate version, which ensures that more children are eligible for food, with less paperwork and bureaucracy. The House version reverts to allowing unhealthy snacks in vending machines (lobbying efforts of snack food industry at work) and requires more paperwork, which can mean that schools without enough staff will not apply. We received a notice from Undersecretary of USDA, Kevin Concannon, urging support of the Senate version so more kids can get served.See contact info below (scroll down) for our elected folks.
NEW PROTECTIONS FOR ACCESSORY DWELLING UNITS IN NH
Affordable housing advocates in NH celebrated a victory this session when Bill 149, which allows Senate single-family homeowners to add an accessory dwelling unit as a matter of right through a conditional use permit or by special exemption as determined by their municipalities. It takes effect in June of 2017. "By passing this law, NH has become one of a handful in the nation that requires local governments to allow accessory dwellings," said Ben Frost, Director of Legal and Public Affairs at NH Housing. "Our legislature has done it in a way that maintains as much local control as possible..." It passed with strong bipartisan support and support from the Homebuilders Association and the NH Realtors. More gets done by working together.
MINIMUM WAGE RALLY
Granite State Organizing Project is the local organizing group for an increase in the minimum wage for low-wage (such as fast food)workers. Many low-wage workers use food pantries, homeless shelters, and other services because even full-time work does not pay the bills. Please contact Eileen Brady (Eileen@nsks.org) for times of future rallies.
NHHPP GOOD FOR HEALTH & HOUSING-NASHUA TELEGRAPH OP-ED
By Elissa Margolin
After the monthly rent is paid, too many hard-working Nashuans don't have enough left over to pay for all necessities.
In fact, unless a NH family brings in at least $20/hr, chances are good that it is sacrificing necessities like quality child care or nutritious food merely to stay housed.
And before the state legislature authorized the NH Health Protection Program in 2014, seeing a doctor or filling a prescription was, for many families, another sacrifice made in order to keep a roof overhead.
That is why the 80 organizations and businesses that form Housing Action NH support reauthorizing the NH Health Protection Program. Our members are diverse, ranging from affordable-housing developers and financers, to community mental health centers and homeless shelters. All view access to health care as an integral way to help prevent and reduce homelessness.
A significant number of the state's chronically homeless lose their homes due to serious physical or mental illness (or both). Forced to choose between paying the rent or paying to see a doctor about a developing cough or lesion, most people choose to keep a roof overhead and hope for the best. In the meantime, the illness may progress and time missed at work costs them income. Eventually, untreated chronic or serious illness costs the job itself. Without an income, a foreclosure or eviction is inevitable. Access to health care can therefore help prevent some of the economic causes of homelessness.
Access to diagnosis and treatment for physical or mental illnesses can also help someone exit homelessness. The causes of homelessness are complex, and so is the path back to a stable, permanent home. Before the NHHPP extended access to care to more residents of the state, those treatments or medications were given only when someone landed in the emergency department.
With coverage in place, those experiencing homelessness are able to visit a doctor or clinic, a mental health counselor or enter an addiction-treatment program. From there, they may access resources that put them on a path toward a permanent place to live. That could be a return to employment or a better job due to improved health. Or, in the case of those too sick or disabled to work, it could be the documentation they need to access income supports like veterans' benefits or social security to help afford rent.
When someone is off the street, out of the shelter system and on the road to better health, it benefits everyone. It's difficult to get well living on the street or in a shelter. A safe, warm home is the best place to follow a doctor's orders, rest and heal. The ability to keep track of and follow up on appointments and medications, especially for chronic illnesses like diabetes or asthma, or mental health conditions, is hampered when you have no fixed address. When someone is not using the emergency dept. for primary care or a cold-weather shelter, that is a cost savings to the entire system.
The arrival of the NHHPP in 2014 now means 46,000 people in the state are not forced to choose between a warm home and access to medical services this winter. Let's not rescind this critical tool in the fight to end homelessness for our veterans, families and disabled residents.
Elissa Margolin is director of Housing Action NH, a statewide coalition advocating for state and federal policies and investments that preserve and increase the supply of affordable housing and help end homelessness in the state.
NH LEADS IN INCOME INEQUALITY GAP
Channel 9 news business report recently included an interview with a Carsey Institute staffer (https://carsey.unh.edu/) that focused on NH's standing in the income inequality gap. Causes: NH is the only New England state that still has $7.25 as its minimum wage; high cost of living; and the preponderance of low-wage jobs.
Action: Please call your state reps to support an increase in the minimum wage.